In today’s performance comparison we compared the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X to the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, directly, on the same test platform and software.  Both of these CPUs were launched a year ago in the summer of 2019.  Over the course of their existence a myriad of AGESA code updates, BIOS updates, software updates and OS updates have occurred.  Now, a year later, in 2020 we have re-visited these CPUs and with all these updates in hand, to find out how they really perform between each other since some time has passed. 

In addition, we let them run unconstrained by using a Corsair H115i Pro AIO to cool both so that they are not held back by cooling TDP (but the default BOIS motherboard settings), and we ran both on the most updated X570 platform with BIOS, and OS and with fast DDR4-3600 RAM.

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3600 are both 6 core/12 thread Zen 2 CPUs at 7nm.  The Ryzen 5 3600X is a 95W TDP CPU that has boost of up to 4.4GHz.  The Ryzen 5 3600 is a 65W TDP CPU that has a boost of up to 4.2GHz.  The Ryzen 5 3600X has an MSRP of $249 and the Ryzen 5 3600 has an MSRP of $199.  They are $50 apart by MSRP, so the question is, which one is better value?  Is it worth spending $50 more on the Ryzen 5 3600X? 

Application Performance

PCMark 10’s standard test showed a 3% performance improvement, and the application test showed a 4% performance advantage toward the Ryzen 5 3600X versus the Ryzen 5 3600.  So far, these are pretty close benchmark results.  Geekbench 5 showed us a 3% performance advantage in Multi-Thread toward the Ryzen 5 3600X and a 5% performance advantage in Single-Thread toward the Ryzen 5 3600X.  In SiSoft Sandra Dhrystone testing, which stresses Integer the Ryzen 5 3600X was 4% faster, and in Whetstone which stresses floating-point, the Ryzen 5 3600X was 3% faster.  WinRAR was only a 2% advantage toward the Ryzen 5 3600X. 

The 3DMark score was very close at only 2% apart.  The Aida64 CPU Queen test showed a 5% advantage for the Ryzen 5 3600X.  The Aida64 FPU Mandel showed a 3% advantage.  These backups the SiSoft Sandra performance.  The RAM read and write performance was exactly the same between the CPUs.  In the GPGPU Aida64 tests the 3600X was consistently faster in every test, but not in any major way.

When it comes to the application performance it seems that Integer performance is a bit higher on the Ryzen 5 3600X at around 5%.  The FPU performance though is around only 3% faster with the Ryzen 5 3600X.  When it comes to multi-thread performance the Ryzen 5 3600X is about 3% faster, while the single-thread performance is closer to 5% faster.  In summary, in applications, we see between 3-5% better performance with the Ryzen 5 3600X.

Rendering Performance

In Cinebench R20 The Ryzen 5 3600X is about 3% faster than the Ryzen 5 3600 in multi-thread.  In single-thread it is about 5% faster, which so far tracks with the application benchmarks.  In the Blender Open Data Benchmark, we did not see the Ryzen 5 3600X save us much time on rendering over the 3600.  In the Pavillon Barcelona scene, it only saved us about .10 seconds, or less than 1% time.  In Victor, it saved us all of 40 or seconds.  HandBrake video transcoding showed the same with only just about 20 seconds off the encoding time.  The Ryzen 5 3600X was only about 3% faster in V-Ray.

If 3D rendering is your thing, or video encoding or transcoding or exporting you are not going to save a whole lot more time with the Ryzen 3600X in rendering over the 3600.  Unless your projects take multiple hours or days to complete, it won’t make much of a difference for the general content creator.

Gaming Performance

In Grand Theft Auto V, which is typically a very CPU dependent game we only saw about a 3% performance advantage toward the Ryzen 5 3600X.  At 4K that dependency disappears altogether.   We saw a similar thing with Far Cry 5, which is often CPU dependent, only 2% faster toward the Ryzen 5 3600X and 4K removed that dependency.  In Ghost Recon Breakpoint performance was the same at 1440p or 4K between the CPUs.

Gears 5 showed no real differences either.  However, Red Dead Redemption 2 did.  This game was very different compared to all the other games and benchmarks.  At 1440p we actually saw a 7% increase in performance with the Ryzen 5 3600X over the Ryzen 5 3600 running at the game’s “High” settings.  Now, do note, these are not the game’s highest possible graphics settings, running at those does put us in GPU dependent territory.  Also, at 4K at “High”, we still saw as smaller 3% advantage toward the Ryzen 5 3600X. 

At the end of the day, for the most part, there will not be a noticeable gameplay experience between the Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3600 in gaming.  You are mostly going to be GPU dependent, especially if you run your game at the highest in-game quality settings. 

The only scenario that there will be a performance difference is when running high-end GPUs at or above the performance of the GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER.  Therefore, if you have a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti level of performance, you might see more of a difference, and then the 3600X might be worth it.  Though you probably went with a 3700X if that GPU is in your system. But if you are in the midrange of video card land, there won’t be a difference between the CPUs in gaming because you are then GPU dependent, not CPU dependent on midrange video cards.  Also, running games at the highest in-game settings also moves you more into the territory of being GPU dependent.       

Final Thoughts

Here’s what it breaks down to, at the CPUs original MSRPs there existed a $50 price difference.  The Ryzen 5 3600X debuted at $249 and the Ryzen 5 3600 debuted at $199. At these MSRP differences, the real-world performance difference doesn’t quite equate to a $50 difference.  We saw between 3-5% performance advantage in applications toward the Ryzen 5 3600X versus the Ryzen 5 3600.  There wasn’t enough rendering or video encoding performance boost to warrant the price, and unless you have an RTX 2080 Ti there isn’t a big enough difference in gaming performance either.

Now, we do need to consider current pricing a year later, because pricing has changed.  Right now, you can find the Ryzen 5 3600X for only $209.99 at Amazon, which is an incredible price for this CPU.  The Ryzen 5 3600 is also lower now at $158.97 which is again an incredible price for that CPU.  That still keeps both CPUs about $50 apart from each other. 

Even with these new lower prices, we still advocate that the Ryzen 5 3600 is the real value.  The reason is that for $50 more the Ryzen 5 3600X only offers 3-5% more performance in applications and games, and even less so if you have a midrange video card in games.  That extra $50 is worth saving toward a faster video card, which will make a bigger impact on your gaming performance than moving to a Ryzen 5 3600X compared to the Ryzen 5 3600. 

Save your money and get the now very affordable Ryzen 5 3600 at $160 and spend a little more money on a faster video card for gaming.  You won’t regret that decision, it is the smart buying decision in the summer of 2020 for a gaming PC.   


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Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer oriented...

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  1. Wow… for that kind of performance boost Intel would want you to buy a whole new kit. New motherboard, new ram and a new CPU altogether in order to support the ‘newer faster cpu’. I mean… not TODAY but 5 years ago… 3-7% would have been considered a generational bump. ;)

    Yea I still have oodles of snark vs Intel. ;)

  2. It seems that when ever Intel introduces a new line you have to buy a motherboard with it!

    I used to be a big fan of AMD back in the Athlon days and started going Intel. However, now I’m seriously rethinking my choices. :p

  3. The 3600X just doesn’t make sense, similar to the 3800X (or any of the recent “XT” chips for that matter). I mean, sure, they’re a little tiny bit quicker, but for the difference in price and not to mention thermals, the plain 3600 is the obvious choice.

    There’s four options that make sense to me in the Zen 2 lineup: 3600, 3700X, 3900X, and 3950X depending on your requirements.

  4. I did a trade deal for a 3600x .. and doggone it! .. my little 11 year old princess is worth that 3 to 5%!!

    If I were to actually of had to pay out of pocket, I would have gone with the 3600.

    It’s been touched on in this thread knocking Intel for whole new chipsets for that type of performance bump .. but man, look at the performance gains we got with AM4 .. and it’s still going with B450’s and up.

    My daughter went from a 2200g to 2700x to her now 3600x ..on her B350

    Wife went from 2200g to 3400g on her B350

    I started with 1700 on the now wife’s B350 to 1700 to 2700x to 3700x on an x470 and then jumped to an x570

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